Performance Cruising Design Parameters
The J/160 is unique among all yachts over fifty feet in providing exceptional sailing performance, upwind and down, with ease of handling normally associated with yachts under 45 feet. Unique also is the J/160's combination of a comfortable sea-going cruising interior, sturdy ABS-approved construction, and the safest and most stable yacht that modern technology can provide. The hull, keel, rudder, and sail plan interact to achieve the speed, balance and sailing comfort that knowledgeable offshore sailors expect in a modern, high performance design.
Fast, Seagoing Hull
The J/160 is designed primarily for comfortable and fast ocean-going cruising for a short-handed crew. Deep "V" forward sections and gently curved bilges amidships provide easy motion through waves and short chop. The combination of a narrow waterplane, fine entry, and low wetted surface optimizes comfort, speed, steering performance, and smooth motion in a seaway. Moderate flare in the topsides results in less spray on the windward deck. The aft sections show progressively tighter bilges toward a moderately wide stern, and very straight diagonals aft for optimum high-end speed on all points of sail.
The hull underbody profile displays ample fore-and-aft "rocker," characteristic of all J/Boats. This minimizes wetted surface and maximizes acceleration in light air. High freeboard and generous reserve buoyancy in the bow combined with low freeboard aft are designed to keep the bow up on high speed reaches, and handle the rigors of high-speed downwind sailing in large ocean waves. A low (but not too low) Displacement/Length ratio of 130 (in sailing trim) assures high top-end speed in heavy conditions, and allows enough displacement to achieve high stability for excellent upwind performance and safety offshore.
The J/160 becomes narrower through the water with progressively less wetted surface as it heels up to angles of 22 degrees. This accounts for the yacht's incredible speed and easy handling qualities upwind and reaching. In storm conditions the stable hull allows optimum steering control, and a smooth, slow, forward motion. Many yachts this size, including the J/160, are comfortable at the dock, but what distinguishes the J/160 is comfort at sea.
Advanced Keel Design
Two other important ingredients which enhance performance are proper keel and rudder size, shape and location. The J/160 fin keel design with long wedge-shaped tip places keel volume and vertical center of gravity (VCG) of the lead ballast very low. This shape distributes volume fore-and-aft to increase lift and reduce drag. Unlike conventional fin keels or a fin keel with bulb, lift is increased by placing a higher proportion of the effective lifting surface further away from the hull turbulence, caused by water flow around the hull and by pitching of the hull in waves.
The size of the keel and rudder depend on a yacht's displacement, beam, and height of Vertical Center of Gravity (VCG). A heavier, beamier, or less stable yacht requires a larger, deeper rudder and keel. This increases drag. If drag increases then the sail plan must be increased to maintain reasonable sailing performance. Because J/160 is narrow and relatively light, the keel and rudder are optimized for efficiency.
Superior Tracking and Control
The J/160 rudder is a deep, high-aspect, balanced spade with molded fiberglass shaft designed to rebound after deflection from striking underwater objects. This rudder configuration has survived groundings of the worst kind without rudder post failure in all larger J/Boats designs. The rudder and keel are both designed with enough leading edge sweepback to shed pot warps, and most forms of weed and kelp.
Short-handed Manageable Sail Plan
This performance is the benefit of a high Sail Area /Displacement Ratio (22.0 for the J/160). Most cruising boats have SA/DSPL ratios of less than 20.0 which inevitably requires an inventory of at least two or more headsails to achieve acceptable performance in a variety of conditions. For offshore cruising a main and roller furling #3 is the perfect combination. A foam luff jib can be rolled to storm jib size. No need to change headsails or constantly reef while cruising on this yacht. In fact, the J/160 can carry the same main and #3 jib combination in winds from 5-20 knots without need for reefing or changing sails. This is a key example of where new design and technology combine to produce an easier to handle yacht.
The versatility of the large low-aspect mainsail and small headsail configuration is proven repeatedly in racing, cruising and ocean sailing. Whether you tack up a narrow channel under mainsail alone, race downwind with asymmetrical spinnaker this sail plan design allows for speed under great control. And unlike the cutter rig found on many yachts this size, the J/160 sloop configuration requires fewer and smaller headsails which cover a wider range of wind conditions.
The Asymmetric Spinnaker: Fast, Safe and Easy
This system is safer than conventional spinnakers because one corner of the sail is always secured to the bowsprit, eliminating wild oscillations. The bowsprit extends and places the sail's low center of effort further forward. So a gust of wind tends to lift the bow and propel the yacht forward with "finger-tip" helm balance.
The shape of the asymmetric chute results in an efficient reaching sail in all conditions. When running downwind, deep sailing angles (down to 170 degree true wind angle) are achieved in over ten knots of breeze. The luff rotates out to windward as the sheet is eased, looking very much like a conventional chute pulled back by a pole.
The Sailing Experience- Rod Johnstone
|The first sensation upon leaving the dock aboard the J/160 is that the motor is very quiet barely audible from the helm station. The boat moves easily up to 8.5 knots under power. Maneuvering is no problem in forward or reverse. Docking and turning is not difficult even with cross-flow from wind or current. The J/160 can circle in her own length. A 22 prop delivers almost 9 knots at top speed.
The main goes up easily, especially with the help of an electric winch. Then, just like a dinghy, the boat sails easily out of irons (from a dead stop) under mainsail only. It feels like a J as it responds immediately to the helm with almost no way on. Then it sails like a J as it accelerates up to seven knots in about twelve knots of wind. The J/160 not only sails well with just the main, but feels good in cruising mode with main and jib, even in light wind. The mainsheet is a two-part, double-ended system leading to a self tailing winch on each side, permitting rapid trimming and easing of the mainsail. The ultimate test of maneuverability (a test that few other 53 footers can perform with such ease, if at all) is the sail-in-a-tight-circle-and-keep-going routine under mainsail only J/160 does it with ease.
The self-tailing electric primary winches take all the effort out of headsail trimming and hoisting sails. Tacking the boat is actually fun, because trimming the jib is as simple as pushing the button. The three-speed electric winch automatically switches from fast to slow as the load increases, so no need for gorillas in the cockpit, whether its for trimming, hoisting or reefing.
What distinguishes the J/160 from the fleet is its ability to sail well with a single non-overlapping furling headsail. Other 53 cruising boats require larger, more awkward, overlapping genoas to achieve equivalent performance. Electric winches do not work so well with large genoas, because there is too much take-up on the sheet for it to be trimmed quickly enough; and with coordinated timing being everything with a large genoa, one has to resort to rapid trimming by hand in order to execute a proper tack. The J/160 has the ideal cruising rig, because one never needs to change headsails or add staysails to get good performance and balance.
Upwind performance usually exceeds IMS speed predictions using a 100% jib. Upwind boat speed averages about 6.4 knots in 8 knots of true wind at a 45 degree true wind angle. This translates to a velocity made good directly into the wind (VMG) of 4.5 knots. When the wind increases to 16 knots, upwind speed is 7.8 knots, and VMG increases to 6.2 knots at a 37 degree true wind angle. The upwind performance is very forgiving of helming ability at 16 knots true wind, because the boat speed jumps up over 8 knots quickly when the boat is cracked off 5 degrees, still keeping the VMG over 6 knots.
This is excellent performance for a 53 footer whose keel only draws a shade over seven feet. When the wind blows over 25 knots true and the jib is rolled up, the boat can sustain a true wind angle of 40 degrees and a boat speed of 6.8 knots. With the carbon mast, the single spectra checkstay (stowed alongside the mast) is only used when beating to windward in heavy seas.
Sailing the J/160 with the asymmetric spinnaker is mesmerizing, exciting, and easy. The key to hoisting and lowering the sail is to do things in sequence using snuffer controls and snuffer sock. Because only one task must be performed at a time, one person can do it. It takes longer with one person than with a full crew, but is just as manageable. It is as simple as hoisting the sail, unsnuffing the spinnaker and trimming the sheet. When you are done you cast off the sheet and pull the sock over the sail. Then let the sail down on the deck inside the sock. The light air reaching performance is exhilarating. Optimum reaching speed under spinnaker in less than 8 knots true wind is the same or greater than true wind speed. Broad reaching speed in 15-20 knots true wind is about 10.5-11 knots steady with speeds over 12 knots in puffs and on waves.
The J/160 exhibits those elusive qualities of good feel, responsiveness, speed, and control - which combine to put a smile on the face of anyone who takes the helm.
Transpac 2003 Preparations
|LIVING A PIPE DREAM IN TRANSPAC 2003
LONG BEACH, Calif. June 2003 - It was convenient how Transpacific Yacht Club scheduled its 42nd biennial race from Los Angeles to Hawaii this summer because it fit right into Scott Piper's plans.
"This is part of the third circumnavigation," he said.
Piper's Pipe Dream IX from Coral Gables, Fla. is one of three J/160s and eight J Boats overall. All will start in Divisions 3 and 4 on the Fourth of July, following the Cal 40 and Aloha fleets on July 1 and preceding Divisions 1 and 2 on July 6.
The other J/160s are Peter Johnson's Maitri and Myron Lyon's Innocent Merriment, both from San Diego. There also are a J/145, two J/125s and two J/120s. There is even another boat named Pipe Dream: John Davis' Choate/Feo 37 from Long Beach. But it's a good bet that among the race's 59 entries none has as much mileage under its keel as Pipe Dream IX.
Piper, 64, has sailed the 53-foot boat 79,341 nautical miles since he bought it in 1996. That's more than 35 Transpacs, at 2,225 miles each. In the past seven years the Florida orthopedic surgeon has been around Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope, through the Suez Canal and through the Panama Canal four times, including on this tour.
"We left Miami on Feb. 22," Piper said. "Hawaii's on the way, which is why we're doing the Transpac. We'll go from there to the Marshall Islands, Palau, the Philippines, Borneo . . . I do most of my racing in an Etchells and use the big boat to cruise, but whenever a race presents itself, I do it."
That includes the Sydney-Hobart race on circumnavigation No. 2 and a course record in the Annapolis-Bermuda race in '96 on what he calls a "shakedown cruise."
Most of those miles have been in comfort. "Of the three J/160s going, we are by far the most in a cruising mode," Piper said. "I have everything on that boat you can imagine."
Maitri and Innocent Merriment reported enjoying "extensive wine cellars [and] fresh showers every day" when they finished 1-2 overall in last year's San Diego-to-Puerto Vallarta race. Piper said his amenities include a fridge and freezer, washer-dryer, three air conditioners, a large transformer, three extra fuel tanks, a big-screen TV---"You name it," Piper said, "we have it."
He launched his current lifestyle 10 years ago, alternating a couple of months of work with portions of his circumnavigations, flying between Florida and his stopovers. "It's been a successful formula for me," he said. "Though not as lucrative, the practice held together."
His wife Gillette will join him after Transpac for a cruise of the Hawaiian Islands before he sets out for the Marshalls in October. "I met her as a blind date after a Newport-Bermuda race when I was 21 and she was 19," Piper said. "She named the first boat."
They'll celebrate their 40th anniversary before he starts Transpac.
Puerto Vallarta Race
|J/160s Finish 1-2 in Comfort in Puerto Vallarta Race
March 8, 2002
Usually the last thing on anyones mind when contemplating a 1000-mile ocean race is the notion of crew comfort underway. Reading the daily logs from the Volvo Race around the planet makes one think weve made no progress since explorer Ernest Shackleton ran his famous (and surprisingly effective) classified ad in the London Times in early 1900:
Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful, Honor and recognition in case of success.
Most sailors, as Gary Jobson humorously puts it, would love to be airlifted onto a Volvo 60 surfing at 30 knots in the Southern Ocean, only to be plucked off two hours later before things got too uncomfortable. The ongoing living conditions are just too extreme for any but the most hard core of sailors to thrive in.
So where does that leave the rest of us who want the thrill without the misery, who want the memorable real-life experience that goes way beyond the vicarious but shallow satisfaction of armchair sailing? In our opinion, its hard to get any better than the recent experience by two J/160s (STARK RAVING MAD & INNOCENT MERRIMENT) who finished 1st and 2nd Overall in the 1000 mile San Diego to Puerto Vallarta International Yacht Race.
Reports from both crews boasted of extensive wine cellars, gourmet prepared food, music, DVDs, fresh showers every day, crew rotations with more time off-watch than on; not to mention the thrill factor of sailing head to head for 6 days with Jim Maddens STARK RAVING MAD edging out Myron Lyons INNOCENT MERRIMENT by only 51 seconds to earn top honors in class and fleet.
While most of the fun was found in sailing against each other, the J/160s couldnt forget about the other excellent boats in their PHRF B class, including 3 Santa Cruz 50s, 2 SC 52s, a Sprint 50, Andrews 56 and Dennis Conners STARS & STRIPES (Ex Morning Glory RP-50). The general pre-race strategy was to stay within touch of the faster rated boats, and when in doubt, stay as far from land as possible. The western Mexico coastline is mountainous, making coastal sailing a risky proposition, if youre looking for wind.
The race starts off San Diego and then heads south, down the western Baja coast, passing near by western points of Isla Cedros, Cabo San Lazaro and finally Cabo San Lucas, before sailing about 270 miles across the California Gulf to Puerto Vallarta, on the Mexican mainland.
PHRF B started at noon in a light westerly with boats quickly splitting to all sides of the Coronado Islands. The early gains were away from land and boats like M Project (Sprint 50), STARS & STRIPES and LENA (SC 50) jumped to an early lead. After the initially squirrelly conditions dissipated, the breeze finally settled in, and boats logged good time through the night surfing down waves in the 15-20 knot conditions.
The first night highlight onboard INNOCENT MERRIMENT came while converging on opposite jibes at about midnight with STARK RAVING MAD. Rather than cross behind, IM executed a beautiful jibe on top of SRM and both boats sailed for several miles together on starboard.
The J/160 crews settled easily into a comfortable onboard routine of 3 hours on-watch, followed by 4 hours off-watch. This continued round the clock, except when extra hands were needed for changing sails. By rotating one person on and off deck every hour, everyone had a chance to sail with each other. Most of the race, only 2-3 people were sailing the boat at any given time, even in the windier conditions.
Top speed hit on IM was 15.8 knots with the oz Code 2 running spinnaker in about 20 knots of wind. Slowest speed much later in the race was 0.5 knots (no elaboration needed).
For the first half of the race, the J/160s were alternating between 5th and 6th in class with the SC 50 LINA not only winning (as the slower rated boat) but also ahead boat-for-boat, having been faster in the moderate downwind surfing conditions of the prior days. The key that would later set both J/160s for big gains, came about 500 miles into the race, when with the wind oscillating between NNW and NW, both boats twice took jibes to starboard (away from shore) in an effort to get into better breeze and more on LINAs line. There was a period of about 48 hours when both 160s and LINA were always within site of each other.
As it turns out several of the faster boats that were ahead ended up getting lifted into the coast near Cabo San Lucas, a parking lot if there ever was one. The J/160s converged with LINA and STEALTH CHICKEN about 20 miles off of Cabo San Lucas. In very light winds, INNOCENT MERRIMENT finally jibed away and picked up a breeze line that propelled them into an 8-10 mile advantage over SRM that would stand for most of the rest of the race.
The race organizers time the PV Race to correspond to a full moon, and the sailors, if not blessed with steady wind, at least could enjoy the several clear moonlit evenings with spectacular sun and moon sets. A flashlight was only needed for the hour or so, after the moon set and before the dawn broke. When you couple this with the warming temperatures, mountainous coastline and abundant marine life, its no wonder the PV Race is a west coast favorite.
After averaging over 200 miles per day for the first four days of racing, and feeling as if the weather gods had been thwarted from their dire light air forecast; the J/160s and the rest of the fleet had to finally deal with winds shutting down across the California Gulf. Fickle 3-7 knot zephyrs that were shifting as much as 40-50 degrees in the space of minutes tested the resolve of all the crews, more so the ones with $300 rooms reserved in PV. Both SRM and IM, with matching North inventories, had a chance to play with an assortment of light air weapons to coax the most out their cruising equipped boats. Inventories included a drifter, LM #1 genoa, Code 1 oz reacher, and Code 2 oz runner. With the winds so light, all the sails stayed on deck ready to change in an instant.
Of particular help on spinnaker changes was the addition of spinnaker snakes; something Keith Lorrance from San Diego came up with. Here, the spinnakers are zipped into long snuffer like tubes, enabling the sail to be hoisted in control in a tube, and then when ready, the crew pulls the bottom tabs apart and the zipped seam breaks apart and the sail fills. The old spinnaker is then tripped at the tack shackle by using a fid on extension pole (Eric Rogers invention), and the spinnaker pulled in by the lazy sheet, over the boom (and under the loose footed main), through the companionway.
The amazing thing was that, even with carrying heavy optional equipment like a generator, watermaker, large inverter, and enough food and wine to last two weeks, the target boat speed in 4-7 knots of wind was EQUAL to the true wind speed. So in 6 knots of wind, the J/160 was sailing at 6 knots. With an easy rotation schedule that allowed maximum concentration from the helmsmen and trimmers, not to mention the incentive of beating the other J/160, both IM and SRM managed to hold their good positions through the light stuff.
After a few days of the doldrums, where in one 12 hour period IM only managed 40 miles, the breeze finally filled in pre-dawn on Day 7 with only 20 miles to the finish. IM and SRM had been out of sight of each other for two days and the previous days 0830 position had SRM about 20 miles further offshore and 10 miles back. Sailing at 8.5 knots with the LM #1 genoa sheeted to the rail on a course for the finish, the IM crew was feeling upbeat. At 8 miles to the finish, IM made the mandatory VHF call to alert the committee. Upon hearing the call, and calculating they were only an hour and 10 minutes from finishing, the SRM crew dropped breakfast and started hiking hard. Thirty minutes later, just as the sun was rising, both boats converged from opposite sides of the Gulf, with SRM crossing IM with a 10-length advantage. After sailing 996 miles, mostly reaching or running, the final burst was going to be upwind in 10-12 knots of wind.
With 3 miles to go, IM and SRM began a tacking dual that would last 20 minutes before both boats settled in to the final close reach into the finish. The final result was a 51 second difference after 1000 (probably closer to 1200) miles of sailing, or the equivalent of only a second difference for every 10 miles sailed! To top it off, Chuck Johnsons beautiful new J/160, cruising in the PV area, served as the official finishing boat. And with the wind shutting down just as quickly as it had built up, the J/160s cemented their 1-2 finish, and the crews enjoyed two days of shore leave before the final awards ceremony.